INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into the death of a convicted sex offender who died after a fire at his home.

The alleged murder of Steven McGowan came after he was reportedly the target of vigilantes at his home in east Cleveland.

The 47-year-old was allegedly harassed in the weeks leading up to his death on June 9 this year.

His body was discovered inside his property at Wheatacre Close, Marske, in the early hours of the morning.

Cleveland Police arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder and later released him under investigation.

The Northern Echo: Steven McGowanSteven McGowan

A spokeswoman for the force confirmed that the situation hadn't change in the last three months.

The force launched a murder probe after firefighters were called to the property to deal with a house fire.

However, Cleveland Police has confirmed it has made a made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) as the investigation continues.

At the time, a spokesperson confirmed it had been made "due to prior police contact with the victim".

The Northern Echo: Crime scene investigators working at the property in MarskeCrime scene investigators working at the property in Marske

Windows in his ground floor flat were covered with cardboard and the force appealed for information about any anti-social behaviour in the area in the weeks leading up to the fire.

One resident said the convicted paedophile had lived at the address for a while but there has recently been a lot of trouble associated with the property.

The man said: "He kept himself to himself most of the time but he seemed to change a little bit when his dog died.

"There has certainly been some problem in the last few weeks."

In 2013, Mr McGowan was convicted of taking indecent pictures of girls in a swimming pool changing room and sentenced to two years in prison.

The following year he was jailed for longer after publicity from the case prompted another victim to come forward.

The woman contacted police after reports of Steven McGowan’s offending at the Splash baths in Stockton appeared in the press.

The victim told how she was abused by McGowan when she was 14 and 15 after being given vodka and cannabis.

McGowan was also sentenced for abusing a 13-year-old girl who woke on two occasions on a sofa to find his hand in her underwear.

He was jailed for five years and ordered to sign on the sex offenders' register for life.

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